Tweaking Firefox to have a better performance is an exciting experience. I know you may have added a lot of extensions to your Firefox (your internet OS!) and canâ€™t live without them. So if I say disable them to have a faster Firefox, you would ignore this article entirely! But wait a minute, there are more effective ways to improve Firefox performance that donâ€™t need to talk about your add-ons only!
In this article, Iâ€™ve introduced lots of tips, tweaks and plugins which will affect on your Firefox memory usage, startup time, and its general performance. Here are what weâ€™ve covered:
- Before getting started
- Make Firefox faster
- Reduce Firefox memory usage
- Speedup Firefox startup time (to make your Firefox as speedy as Chrome)
- Set Firefox to have more screen space
Before getting started
Make a backup about:config
Before getting started itâ€™s always recommended to make a backup of your Firefox settings (about:config) in case you need to revert to the default:
In Windows XP:
Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<profile ID>.default\
In Windows Vista:
Create new profile to examine
To test the suggestions itâ€™s really recommended to create a new profile to experiment on. Then if the results were great you can set it as your default profile.
Make Firefox Faster
1. Optimizing Firefox for Broadband
In default, Firefox is optimized for dialup connections. If you are interested in optimizing Firefox for DSL or cable or Broadband connections, you need to edit config file in Firefox:
- Type about:config into the Firefox address bar and press Enter
- Then if Firefox shows a warning massage, press the button â€˜Iâ€™ll be careful, I promise!â€™
- Type network.http.pipelining into the filter bar to find it under preference name column. Then double click on it to change its value to True to enable HTTP pipelining.
- Into the filter bar type network.http.proxy.pipelining to find it. Then change its value to True.
- Then find network.http.pipelining.maxrequests. Right click on it and click Modify. The default value is 4. Change it to 15 as an ideal value.
- Next make a new integer value (to do this right click on a blank space and click: New â€“> Integer) name it nglayout.initialpaint.delay and press OK. Finally set its value to 0 and click OK.
- Finally create a Boolean value (to do this right click on a blank space and click: New â€“> Boolean) name it network.http.pipelining.firstrequest and click OK. Then set its value to True.
Also these are some advanced network settings for broadband user with at least a 2 Mbps (256 kB/s) connection. To use these tips just type about:config into the Firefox address bar and hit Enter. Then find them using the filter bar, next right click on them and select Modify, and change the value and click OK:
- Find network.dnsCacheEntries and change its value to from 20 to 512.
- Find network.dnsCacheExpiration and change its value from 60 to 3600.
- If your ISP doesnâ€™t support IPv6, you can disable it. To do this just find network.dns.disableIPv6 and change it default value to True.
- Find network.http.max-connections and increase maximum number of simultaneous connections to 48 or 96.
- Find network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-server and increase maximum persistent connections per server from default 6 to 12
- Find network.http.max-connections-per-server and increase maximum connections per server from default 15 to 24
2. Loading large pages faster
Large and intricate web pages can take a while to download. Although Firefox doesnâ€™t have any delay here but since in default it should shows you what itâ€™s received every 0.12 seconds and this causes to increase loading the web pages. Well, to avoid this:
- Make an integer value (go to about:config screen, right click on a blank space and select: new â€“> Integer) then name it content.notify.interval and set its value to 500000. (It is five hundred thousand and not fifty hundreds)
- Make a Boolean value (go to about:config screen, right click on a blank space and select: new â€“> Boolean) then name it content.notify.ontimer and set its value to True.
3. Set Firefox to ignore some interrupts before loading pages
If you havenâ€™t moved your mouse or touched the keyboard for 0.75 seconds then Firefox enters a low frequency interrupt mode, that means its interface becomes less responsive. To reduce the content switch:
- Make another Integer value (go to about:config screen, right click on a blank space and select: new â€“> Integer). Name it content.switch.threshold click OK and set its value to 250000 (one fourth of a second) then click OK to finish.
- To extend our tip to user interface create another Boolean value (go to about:config screen, right click on a blank space and select: new â€“> Boolen), name it called content.interrupt.parsing and set its value to False.
4. Set Cache
While you are browsing Firefox stores some scripts and images of the web pages in a local memory cache. And they can be retrieved faster if you open the same page. If you have plenty of Ram:
- Make an Integer value (go to about:config screen, right click on a blank space and select: new â€“> Integer), name it browser.cache.memory.capacity and set its value to 65536.
- Restart Firefox
5. Disable Delay Time While Installing Add-ons
Every time you want to install a Firefox add-on, you will have to wait for some seconds before the installation starts. To avoid this delay time:
- Type about:config into the Firefox address bar
- Then type security.dialog_enable_delay into the filter bar to find it
- Right click on it and select Modify. Then change the value to 0.
6. Optimize download options
On Firefox go to Tools â€“> Options â€“> Main. Then set your Firefox to:
- Close download window automatically
- Choose a folder to save your downloaded files
- Go to privacy tab and turn off download history.
7. Control animations
This would be one of the easiest configuration to limit animated images. Just follow the steps below:
- Type about:config into the Firefox address bar and press Enter.
- Type image.animation_mode into the Filter bar to find it.
- The default value is Normal. Right click on it and select Modify. Then change the default value to None and press Enter to stop all animated images.
8. Use Blank Homepage, Default Theme andÂ Minimal Extensions
- Set your Homepage to about:blank
- Use default theme
- Just install most-have Firefox extensions
9. Use Fasterfox add-on
Fasterfox in a helpful extension that allows you to tweak many network and rendering settings such as pipelining, DNS, simultaneous connections, cache and initial paint delay.
This extension works with Firefox 3.0.4 (doesnâ€™t work with Firefox 3.5 right now)
10. 4 Firefox download managers for Faster Downloads
Here Iâ€™m going to introduce four Firefox add-ons that help you to have faster downloads using Firefox. They also allow you to manage your downloads:
I really recommend this download manager. It has almost all features that you can desire from a download manager. You can increase your download speed up to 400% using this Firefox add-on.
To add it to your Firefox, and see more screenshots click below:
2. Download Statusbar
Another Firefox add-on that works as a download manager and let you view and manage downloads from a tidy status bar.
To see more interesting snapshot and to add it to your Firefox click below:
3. Custom Download Manager
This is another Firefox download manager that you can show it on the side bar, tab or window. Also itâ€™s compatible with Windows, Linux, MacOSX and support some different languages.
To see more features visit the page:
4. Downloads in Tab
Another Firefox download manager that opens “Downloads” manager in tab from Tools menu or automatically when a download starts (default). It also let you have some more options.
11. Block Flash
As you know there are many unwelcome flash files on many web pages. Since loading them causes reducing your Firefox speed itâ€™s really recommended to use a Firefox add-on to block them all. FlashBlock causes that Firefox doesnâ€™t load flash files automatically. But after loading web pages it gives you a play button to let you load every flash file you want.
To add the plugin to your Firefox click below:
12. Use SpeedyFox
SpeedyFox is a small Firefox tool that optimize Firefox speed. Although you may not feel any difference if you try SpeedyFox on a fresh Firefox install, but it works great after you have been using Firefox for some time.
- Boost Firefox startup
- Speedup browsing history
- Quicker operation with cookies
To us SpeedyFox just close Firefox. Then run SpeedyFox and point it to the profile you want to optimize. For more information and downloading SpeedyFox click below:
13. Use an optimized build of Firefox
1) There is an optimized build of Firefox for both Windows and Linux users that is called Swiftfox. Swiftfox has builds for both AMD and Intel processors and is based on the most cutting edge Firefox source code available. To speedup Firefox speed and reduce Firefox memory usage that would be really recommended to use Swiftfox.
2) There is another optimized build of Firefox called Pale Moon. Pale Moon is the customize built and optimized Firefox browser for Windows operating System.
- Highly optimized for current processors
- 100% Firefox sourced: As safe as the browser that has seen years of development.
- Uses less memory because of disabled redundant and optional code
- Significant speed increases for page drawing and script processing
- Support for SVG and Canvas
- Support for Firefox extensions and themes
To see more information and get download link, visit their page:
14. Block unwanted banners
As you know loading unwanted elements reduce Firefox speed. There is a Firefox add-on that help you to block unwelcome banners, advertisements and pictures which is called Adblock plus.
To see more features and add it to your Firefox click below:
15. Clean up bookmarks, avoid Live Bookmarks
To clean up bookmarks to avoid having duplicated or dead links use the CheckPlaces Firefox extension, and uninstall it after youâ€™re done:
Firefox checks Live Bookmarks every hour for updates. Also itâ€™s recommended to use a dedicated RSS reader.
16. Use Tweak Network
This is a Firefox add-on called Tweak Network. It will speed up the loading of web pages and increase the maximum number of simultaneous downloads from a site.
To add it to your Firefox click below:
Reduce Firefox memory usage
1. Restart Firefox
Sometimes Firefox memory usages grows up more and more and you need to free some memory to avoid Firefox using abnormal memory. Well, sometimes it would be useful to restart Firefox to free some memory.
2. Clear Firefox download history
Open Firefox and go to Tools â€“> Options â€“> Privacy then just leave Remember what Iâ€™ve downloaded unchecked and press OK.
3. Optimize content type handling
Opening files into Firefox needs big mount of memory. To avoid this go to:
Tools â€“> Options â€“> Applications
- Then set your files (like: pdf, zip, rar and etcâ€¦) to be saved instead of being open into Firefox. Finally press OK.
- Change Web Feed from Preview in Firefox to your favorite RSS reader.
- Set mailto to use your favorite desktop email client
4. Keep your Firefox up to date
It is really recommended to use newer versions of all Firefox extensions, Themes\skins, Plugins and â€¦ That is because of improving newer extensions, plugins and themes. Donâ€™t forget to keep these plugins up to date forever: Adobe reader, Shockwave, Java, Flash.
5. Set Firefox to use less memory upon minimize
In default almost all software need less memory when you minimize them. But to set Firefox to work like this we should follow these steps:
- Type about:config Into the Firefox address bar and hit Enter.
- Then make a Boolean value (Right click and select New â€“> Boolean) and name it config.trim_on_minimize and set its value to True.
- Restart Firefox
Now you would be able to minimize Firefox to free some memory. In fact when you minimize Firefox its memory usage come down to about 8MB. But when you return it to desktop its memory usage grows slowly.
6. Set Firefox to have fixed size of memory usage
In default Firefox uses a percentage of memory on your computer. I mean if you had more memory, Firefox will use more memory. To avoid this in order to having a fixed size of memory usage for Firefox:
- Type about:config into the Firefox address bar.
- Then type browser.cache.memory.enable into the filter bar to find it. Then right click on it and select Modify. Next change its value to True.
- Then make an Integer value (Right click on a blank space and select New â€“> Integer) then name it browser.cache.memory.capacity. To set its value you should work according to mount of installed memory on your computer just as like as below:
|Installed Ram:||Value to set:||Comment:|
|256 MB||4096||also set it for less Ram|
7. Use RamBack Plugin
This is a helpful Firefox plugin that is called RamBack. RAMBack will causes Firefox to issue an internal notification to free up memory that is otherwise held for performance purposes.
8. Use Portable Firefox
If having free memory is a critical problem for you it is recommended to use Portable Firefox. Because of less memory usage of portable Firefox.
9. Disable â€œBack-Forwardâ€ cache
Firefox has a special “Back-Forward cache” for recently visited pages that works differently than the regular browser cache. In default Firefox saves up to 8 pages. To disable â€œBack-Forwardingâ€:
- Type about:config into the Firefox address bar.
- On about:config screen, type browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers into the filter bar to find it.
- Its default its value is â€œ-1â€. Change its value to 0 (Right click on it and select Modify then set its value to 0 and click OK to save more memory.
10. Increase Cache & Reduce History Size
- On Firefox go to Options â€“> Advanced â€“> Network and increase size of space for the cache under offline storage section.
- On Firefox go to Options->Privacy, use Custom settings for history, and reduce length of remembered history.
11. Remove unused search engines
Open Firefox and drop down in the search box. Then select manage search engines. Then simply remove every search engine that you never use.
Speedup Firefox startup time
One of disadvantages of Firefox is its startup time. It takes 5 to 30 second to start depending on your Firefox settings. Here we have put together some tricks to speedup your Firefox startup time:
1. Using Firefox Preloader
Firefox Preloader is an open source utility that is designed to load parts of Mozilla Firefox into memory before it is used to improve the its startup time. To see different version and get download like click below:
2. Donâ€™t let Firefox to check some options before startup
- When Firefox starts, it usually checks for Firefox updates. Updates for all add-ons, search engines and its core. To turn them off go to Tools â€“> Options â€“> Advanced â€“> Update then uncheck all the Automatic Update checkboxes.
- On Firefox go to Options->Advanced->General->Accessibility and Uncheck Always check to see if Firefox is the default browser on startup.
3. Set Firefox to start as fast as Google Chrome
I’ve tried this trick personally on XP and have seen that it really works. To apply this amazing trick just follow the steps below:
- Right click on Firefox shortcut
- Select Properties
- Switch to Shortcut tab
- In the target box add â€œ /Prefetch:1â€ to the end of the line (donâ€™t forget to put a space before \Prefetch) and click OK.
- Finally open Firefox and enjoy!!!
- What does Prefetch do? Prefetch basically keeps apps “on hold” so they load faster
Set Firefox to have more screen space
There are some elements on Firefox that reduce the space for reading web pages and this would be a problem specially for small screen netebooks. So, these useful tricks maybe solve this problem.
1. Use Meerkat
Meerkat is a Firefox add-on that Optimizes the Firefox user interface to be more suitable to Netebook devices.
What Meerkat does:
- Hides the status bar when there is no activity
- Removes the menu bar, rebuilt into a drop down button placed on the navigation bar
- Adds downloads and bookmarks buttons to the right of the location bar, followed by above mentioned menu bar button
- Reduces the navigation bar icon size to the small setting
Typically Meerkat delivers about 60 pixels of vertical screen real-estate back to the user.
Visit their website to see more information and get download link.
2. Hide Tabs
There is a Firefox add-on that allows to use two keyboard shortcuts to hide or unhide tabs and is called HideTab. It simply let you hide all of your current tabs using ALT+Q shortcut and also let you restore them again using CTRL+ALT+Q.
To add it to your Firefox click below:
3. Maximize Firefox 3.5’s Viewing Area for Your Notebook
Whether you want to maximize Firefox viewing area for your notebook or your PC you should read this tutorial:
Your notebookâ€™s screen is tiny and processor less than mighty, so you want to maximize the web page viewing area without any performance-killing Firefox extensions. Here’s how to consolidate Firefox 3.5’s chrome for your Windows or Linux-based notebook.
Even if you don’t have a notebook, these modifications still work if you want to consolidate Firefox 3.5’s chrome on your regular PC.